When you shake a man’s hand, comfort him on the death of his son, and promise to fix the problem that killed him — like Donald Trump did with Kraig Moss on the campaign trail — you’d better follow through. So heartfelt and honest was the future President’s assurance in person at an Iowa rally last year, Moss thought, that he sold his work equipment, gave up the mortgage on his house, and got on the Trump Train. Literally.
Moss’ son Rob had just died of a heroin overdose, so Trump’s promise to increase funding and services for addiction and treatment wasn’t just the racist dog whistle or appeal to fear people often assume mustered all those electoral votes — it was a real issue that applied to a real life, and a real reason for Moss to give him his vote.
But there is no more important trick in Donald Trump’s bag than what psychologists call “cognitive dissonance.” As a refresher, that’s defined as “the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioral decisions and attitude change.” In simple terms, it’s when you hold two opposing views at the same time, and must adjust one or the other to fit the narrative that you are most comfortable with. You see why it’s so important to Mr. Art of the Deal: How else can you get evangelicals to vote for an admitted sexual predator, or strict constitutionalists to support someone in violation of the emoluments clause?
The problem is, it doesn’t work on everyone. So when Trump broke that promise to Kraig Moss, he broke the man’s heart. Under Obamacare, there was a requirement that addiction services be covered, and Trump had promised Kraig that he was going to build treatment centers. When Moss saw the contents of the new Republican health care plan that stripped even the coverage requirement, he was devastated.
All last year, Moss could be seen with his Trump-decorated guitar singing songs about and dedicated to the man he thought was going to finally do something about the scourge of addiction in America. Now he’s put that guitar down.
Kraig Moss, though he feels played, isn’t all doom and gloom, though. He’s organizing fundraisers in his son’s memory, and he’s taken his regrets public:
The bill is an absolute betrayal of what Trump represented on the campaign trail…I did a lot to promote his candidacy. Now, I wish I had never sold my equipment.
If only we could bring the rest of them around. You can watch CNN’s video interview with Kraig Moss here.